Some TGSA U18 members recently participated in the Surfing America Prime Series event at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, CA. It was a great opportunity extended to TGSA by Surfing America. Board member Rob Henson worked to put this opportunity together for some of our top competitors and we asked him to give us a summary of the trip. Thank you Rob for your hard work and thank you Greg Cruse and Surfing America for welcoming the Texas kids and your hospitality during the trip.
The Surfing America Prime Series took over Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, CA January 10th and 11th. The TGSA was invited to bring some of our top surfers out the the contest as well as participate in a “mock” heat on Friday January 9th. Tyler Bacquet, Nathan Marney, Kelly Scroggs, Ian Appling, Aransas Blaha and Maddie Garlough arrived in Santa Cruz on Tuesday Jan 6th and immediately took to the water. Although the surf was fairly small the first few days, we were greeted with 4-6 feet surf on Friday which slowly faded on Sunday. The biggest concern for the groms was getting used to taking off at the “SLOT” which is right next to the cliff. I was really proud of the way they adapted to the conditions and became comfortable with the break. On Friday, Tyler Bacquet was placed into a mock heat with current USA Surf Team members and definitely caught the attention of the west coasters. USA Surf Team coach, Ryan Simmons, announced all the mock heats and had nothing but positive things to say about the Texans. Also on Friday, our groms participate in an “ALL TEXAS” heat. This gave our kids 20 minutes on the peak at Steamer Lane, it actually turned into about 17 minutes BUT the kids still had a great time.
Highlights for the event:
Kelly Scroggs finished 3rd in his heat ONLY needing at 2.77 to advance. At one point, Kelly needed at 3.77 to move into 2nd and his next wave he received a 3.83 to move into 2nd with a few minutes remaining. Although he eventually ended up 3rd, Kelly battled and earned a little respect from the Californians.
Nathan Marney surfed against the winner of the U18 division, Colt Ward in his first heat. It was an uphill climb BUT Nathan easily caught the biggest wave of the heat. It was a fast peeler that he did an oustanding job staying out in front of and for a second was fully slotted before straightening out to make it around the next section. Nathan finished 4th in his heat but he definitely CHARGED it.
Tyler Bacquet surfed in the U18 division as well, and he was also up against some of the best U18’s in the world. Tyler showed that he is one of the most stylish surfers we’ve seen on our coast….even though it was a brief stay in Texas. His heat was a wave starved heat and Steamer Lane showed how tricky it can be. Some waves come off the slot and stack up on the inside, while others go out into the channel. Although he finished 4th in his heat, there were plenty of compliments on Tyler’s surfing that he should be proud of.
Ian Appling also found himself in a TOUGH situation in his heat, but he stayed active, caught plenty of waves and surfed them as well as he could. At one point, he needed a BIG score so he attempted a front side air that, IF LANDED, could have put him in a better position. I know he will use this experience for his future contests on the national level and will be better prepared for the next opportunity.
Aransas Blaha and Maddie Garlough both surfed in the U16 Girls division. They were put into a heat together and even though the 3rd competitor didnt make it to the heat in time, these girls went at each other like it was a TGSA final! Aransas ended up taking first in the heat with a 4.00 and 2.67 while Maddie had the highest wave score in the heat with a 4.5. Maddie and Aransas both advanced to 2nd round heats which means these girls got to surf Steamer Lane for 60 minutes (counting their 20 minute mock heat Friday). They were bumped in the 2nd round but nevertheless, held their own out there against the best in the California.
I’ve got to take time to send a personal THANK YOU to Greg Cruse of Surfing America for allowing us this opportunity! Im sure the kids that participated in the event will remember this forever. Also, thanks to Ryan Simmons who took the time to really “pump up” our kids and speak positively on their surfing. He announced the entire contest, with a few breaks, and always made sure to point out when our Texas groms were in the water. Thanks also to the Surfing America ground crew and photographers for setting up the contest and making sure that our kids were covered in the Surfline article….truly awesome!